The Giant Pandas at the National Zoo, like all the other pandas at zoos in the United States, don’t belong to the Zoo itself. They’re effectively rented from the People’s Republic of China on a 10-year lease, for about a million dollars a year, each.
If a panda cub is born in the US, the Zoo is charged a $400,000 baby tax, and the cub must be shipped to China when it turns four years old.
Bei Bei Celebrates His Fourth Birthday
Bei Bei, the Zoo’s youngest panda, was born on 22 August 2015, so it’s time to say goodbye. Next Tuesday, 19 November 2019, he’ll leave for China.
So much for birthright citizenship.
The National Zoo has scheduled a week of special events leading up to Bei Bei’s departure, including Q&A sessions with panda keepers and panda feeding times with special treats. Airbnb is providing free hot chocolate to Zoo visitors on Saturday morning. Here’s a full listing of what’s planned. As always, admission to the Zoo is free.
If you’re not in the area, or just want to avoid DC’s November weather, you can watch the action on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam. Camera One will be focused exclusively on Bei Bei for the full week. (Note: Pandas sleep a lot. The cameras operate 24/7, but your best chance for seeing live panda action is at feeding times and around midday, East Coast time.)
The National Zoo has posted videos of some of Bei Bei’s most memorable moments Here are two of them:
Bei Bei’s First Steps
Playing in the Snow